Improving Community Health through Detailed Emissions Modeling


Citilabs determined where freeways and heavy industries are causing the worst levels of air pollution in West Oakland, California, United States by performing a road analysis.

Improving Community Health through Detailed Emissions Modeling

By undertaking a sweeping analysis of the roadways in West Oakland, they determined the full environmental impact of emissions, tire wear, and road dust.
Citilabs identified the block-by-block areas most impacted by pollution, helping the Bay Area Air Quality District develop targeted solutions for reducing exposure.



West Oakland has some of the worst air quality in the state of California due to emissions from nearby freeways and heavy industries, with the Environmental Defense Fund discovering that some areas experience as much as one microgram of black carbon per cubic meter. The pollution leads to West Oakland’s high rates of asthma, cancer, heart disease, and strokes, according to the California Department of Public Health. When the state legislature mandated a reduction in air pollution exposure in 2017, they chose West Oakland as the first community to be targeted. As part of this pilot project, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District contracted Citilabs to undertake a sweeping analysis of the roadways, including vehicle counts, speeds, and road characteristics to determine the full environmental impact of emissions, tire wear, and road dust. They produced an air pollution exposure map that identified the most affected areas, helping officials to develop targeted solutions for reducing exposure with a goal of lowering cancer risk from up to 346 people per million to 110 people per million by 2030.

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Key Project Details


• Project: Improving Community Health through Detailed Emissions Modeling

• Infrastructure Delivered: Analysis of roadway carbon emissions

• Owner: Bay Area Air Quality Management District

• Lead Engineers: Citilabs

• Completion Date: 2017

The Impact

Contributing to sustainable and resilient infrastructure, and to progress on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals:

• Improve air quality in West Oakland by reducing emissions from highways and industries.

• Significantly lower cancer risks from up to 346 people per million to 110 people per million by 2030.

U.N. Sustainable Development Goals 3, 11